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Then he would have to begin the process of breaking away from Elric, finding his own life and his own place of power. This trip, he supposed, was the first step, his first time away from Elric since Elric had brought him here to live, eleven years ago. Everything was changing.

Galen followed Elric from the house, and as they set out across the mak, Galen periodically looked back, the modest stone house slowly dissolving into the mist. "I reviewed Burell's findings. They seem quite convincing."

Elric frowned. "Clear-cut evidence is needed. Evidence beyond doubt. Evidence that proves the hand behind the migration, behind the gathering of resources on the rim, is the hand of the Shadows. Because if doubt remains an option, some will stubbornly cling to it."

"I will find proof. I will not fail the Circle." I will not fail you, Galen thought.

"You have read some of the ancient texts. The Shadows prefer to work secretly, invisibly. They find others to do their bidding. They have hidden themselves so well that we know very little about them, or their abilities." Elric glanced at him. "All we know of their powers is that they are great. They may be able to detect the presence of a mage, or the energies of his spells. They may even be able to defend against your spells."

"But you think it's possible to find proof."

"Possible, yes. For one who is very clever, and very subtle. You must follow the strings from puppet to puppet master."

Galen knew his own weaknesses well. While he was intelligent, his thinking was methodical, unswerving. Cleverness and subtlety were not among his strengths, as Elric was well aware. "You said that for this task the Circle wanted a contemporary of Isabelle's, someone who would not draw attention. But you failed to say why the Circle
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